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Friday, August 17, 2012

Gold by Chris Cleave


Wow.  That is the word that summed up my reaction after reading the first few pages of Gold.  Seriously, it was.  I just couldn't believe how much I was loving Cleave's writing.  It was fantastic!  It was just so refreshing and engaging - it made me feel invigorated.  I felt like I had just discovered a new treasure and I was thrilled.  And the crazy thing is that I absolutely hated Little Bee - Cleave's second novel.  I just hated it.  I found the characters to be too unlikeable, so much so, that I did not care what happened to them. So, you can imagine my surprise when I was so taken with Cleave's latest work, Gold.  I wasn't even going to read it, but then I started to read so many glowing reviews and the Olympics were on...so I had to give it a go.  Suffice it to say, I'm so happy I did.

Gold is the story of three athletes aiming to make it to the 2012 London Olympics.  They train hard, follow strict diets, and pretty much focus on winning gold.  However, life creeps into their disciplined routines and the next thing you know, their worlds are forever changed.  We have broken hearts, an unexpected pregnancy, a sickly child, and unending loneliness.  It seems that getting to the top isn't all its cracked up to be.  We have Zoe, who will do absolutely anything to win gold - even if it means breaking your only friend's heart; Kate, a mum whose focus is split between caring for her ill daughter and training to win gold; and Jack, Kate's husband, who is finally beginning to realize just how sick his daughter really is and just how much she needs him.  All three are fascinating in their own ways and will have you rooting for them one minute, and booing them the next. 
 
Cleave has written a fantastic behind the scenes story about what it takes to make it to the Olympics and what happens afterward.  We get to learn all about their every day lives when they are in the velodrome training and when they are at home taking care of their little girl.  We read about them counting calories and counting meds.  We read about their past histories and how they came to be a mum, dad and aunt.  Cleave provides a full picture of every facet of their lives, which I felt added an authentic tone to the story.  You can almost believe that Zoe, Kate and Jack are Olympic athletes; just as you can imagine little Sophie watching Star Wars and pretending to be well, so that her parents don't worry too much about her.  This is a book that will grab you by the heart and make tears well up in your eyes, but it will also make you scream and want to shake some sense into the tunnel-visioned minds of these celebrated athletes.

 This book is just so good, I have to admit I didn't want it to end.  I wanted more details about who won gold in London and how Sophie became interested in cycling (not that I was surprised).  But I suppose that is what made the book so interesting - the fact that if left me wanting more.  I love when a book does that.  Actually, truth be told, reading this book also made me realize that I hadn't really read anything superb in quite some time.  Hmmm.  I think I'm going to have to fix that.  Anyhow, at the end of the day, Gold has become one of my all-time favorite reads and I will most definitely be recommending it to my family and friends.  Hope you give it a go and love it just as much as I did. Happy Reading!!

13 comments:

Carole said...

Hi there, would you like to link in to “Books You Loved”. Here is the link Books You Loved August Edition Cheers

Carole said...

Hi there – you may know about it already but I wanted to remind you about Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads. It is a lovely little linky party where booky blogs link up something about food or cookbooks over the weekend. It was the very first blog hop I ever stumbled over so I have fond thoughts about it. Please do pop by and link up.

Priya -Tabula Rasa said...

Was blog hopping when I found your blog. This seems like a wonderful read, great review!

Nadia said...

Carole, thanks for the offer! And thanks for the tip about the Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads - I'm going to check it out :)

Priya, I'm glad you hopped on over :) Thanks! This was definitely an awesome book to read!

Vintage Reading said...

You've sold it to me! Sounds brilliant and very timely, too. Will check it out.

Nadia said...

Vintage Reading - you will love it! Such a great read!!

Ti said...

Okay, I had no real interest in this book prior to your review but you made it sound really good.

I've never been into sports but now that the boy has joined cross country, I've come to appreciate the training, the meal plans, etc. Every day missed affects him and every meal indulged in shows up on the track. Not literally. That would be gross. LOL.

Nadia said...

Ti, that would definitely be gross - LOL! And, I know what you mean - I'm not a huge sports fan either, but after reading this book and watching the Olympics this year, I've really come to respect the training and sacrifice that these amazing athletes endure. Anyhow, hope you enjoy the book - it truly is a great read!

bermudaonion said...

I really liked Little Bee so I wonder how I'll react to this one. I'm glad to see you loved it.

Lisa said...

Boy, I knew you liked this one from what you tweeted but it sounds even better than Little Bee!

Nadia said...

bermudaonion, from what I've heard, if you liked Little Bee, then you will love Gold. So, I'm thinking you'll enjoy it. And, thanks!

Lisa, yes, it was so much better than Little Bee! Check it out!

Bellezza said...

I love it when a book strikes a chord within us such as this one obviously did with you! And, why is it so difficiult to find such a book? It's interesting that you didn't like Little Bee (a book I didn't love, but won't ever forget), and yet this one you were crazy about. Perhaps it's the topic? I know that I like cycling, and I loved watching the Olympics...counting calories? Not so much. ;) Anyway, I own it so I better read it soon!

Amanda said...

I was quite curious about this book. I recently tried the audiobook of Little Bee and -- well -- got through half of it and while I have the hard copy on my shelf, it's just not calling to me. It was so depressing! I mean. Blah. Which surprised me because everyone LOVED Little Bee until I read your thoughts. Good to know I should give this one a try then.